Harnessing the Power of Public-Private Engagement

Fake news

Growing Dissent, Decline of the Patriotic Spirit, or Globalization

As tech monopolies like Google continue to absorb the top performing tech companies and the brightest minds in the robotics field, a recent study by the Air Force Law Review advised the president on a national security threat developing in the area of autonomous systems. The article provides a future scenario of a US Navy aviator plane crash off the coast of China after being hit by a swarm of robots in the year 2025. Another vulnerability points to the decline of private industry partnerships in the area of defense.

As it stands now, the president may utilize a variety of legislation to force a company’s cooperation such as prioritizing manufacturing contracts ahead of commercial ones, acquire patents, or even force the manufacture of products otherwise not produced by a contractor, but the president is not able to force job growth, acquire proprietary trade secrets such as software, or assess whether a tech company is able to develop Robotic Autonomous Systems (RAS) for military use. The deterioration of defense budgets, research and development, and testing have left the situation of national security far behind the commercial tech industry.

From the industrial devotion of WWII’s Henry Fords to the non-engagement of the Silicon Valley doms of today, the US has suffered damage to its national integrity on the world stage, and private sector cooperation has toughened into a timeless and stony mausoleum of past mutual achievement. Currently, the law favors tech companies in their resistance to work the US government and government officials are analyzing how public-private partnerships can be resuscitated to their former glory. This blog explores the reasons behind the gradual fall-out between the private and public sectors.

 

Engaging the Enemy in Fog of the Media

Jessica Aro’s, The cyberspace war: propaganda and trolling as warfare tools explain mainstream media and social media usage in misinformation attacks on the public. Such attacks are defined as “a state-conducted, strategic series of information and psychological operations that influences the target’s opinions, attitudes and actions in order to support the political goals of the state’s leaders.” Internet-based media is a preferred method of communication because of its low cost compared to print and television and its ability to spread across borders. Whether it comes in the form of digital or print platforms, harsh judgment with smearing personal attacks or subtle academic discourse, the goals of info-wars are “to create chaos not only in the information sphere but also within society itself.”

Jessica Aro discusses how a pro-Kremlin misinformation base was used in Finland to silence opposition to Russian national interests including the mobilization of protests at Finnish government facilities. The more subtle the misinformation, the more dangerous it is likely to be in silencing the public or creating enough confusion around some issues as to cause the audience to disengage. With these practices certainly not limited to Russia, it is no surprise then to see the spread of public confusion and decline in engagement growing internationally as audiences either cannot follow the irrational logic of various news platforms or suffer getting shot down with hate speech on social media. Large-scale publications are falling prey to sources that are actually fronts feeding out misinformation. In a recent blog on Archival on Demand, we cited one such source, South Front, but no one detected it, not even counter-messaging trolls.

Long-term use of these tactics by multiple governments internationally may be part of the causes for the public sentiments of today including the aversion of the private sector to the public and the apathy to vote in major elections. The costs of campaigning have risen for political parties equally in attempts to overcome the public’s growing disinterest in elections until just recently when the situation reversed with masses suddenly voicing their the opinions in the streets and online regarding numerous elections internationally in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. A report on Islamic violent extremism and terror recruiting revealed a personal distrust of print, television, and online media on the African continent as the target is compelled down the path of terror franchising or neutrality.

Another report on public concern for misinformation in the US, UK, and other European countries shows the highest levels of mistrust areas of political and corporate slanting and spin. In the event of misinformation attack, the audience which can be a person living anywhere in the world, a business entity of some kind, or even a government institution is unable to detect it and is either guided towards the actions of the attacker’s intentions or too confused to engage followed by a disconnect from the source. In this respect, the fog of war among nations and corporations has become a toxic gas for the global masses including private sector companies and has lead to private sector policies of non-engagement with the public sector.

 

Globalization, Conflicts of Interest, and Developing Opportunities

Globalization is another factor in the disconnect, but also provides new opportunities. As the private sector including tech companies pursue of the fruits of globalization, they become ever closer to government interests internationally where conflicts of interest are bound to happen in the area of national security and defense.

However, there could be synergy in public-private partnerships concerning foreign policy issues and international trade that could be seen as beneficial to both sectors and citizen-consumers especially in the areas of subsidization, emerging technologies, and continued industry and national leadership. While misinformation is not going away at the government level or in corporate selling, the fostering of the public-private partnership may call for more measured information campaigns between engaging the enemy and maintaining the affections of friends.

 

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